Beijing: Woodshed Beatings.
My ears are still ringing. What the hell just happened?
I’ll tell you what: Marin Cilic just put on the lights-out performance of the year to defeat Rafael Nadal in two sets 6-1 6-3.
And the craziest thing is – the scoreline is actually a lot closer than the match. At 5-0 in the first set, Rafa had won a total of 2 points. The set was over before you could say “Bob’s your uncle.“
With the second set underway, Marin showed no sign of a letdown, breaking Rafa in the first game. The set could’ve been over quicker, when at 2-0 in the second set, Rafa faced off 3 breakpoints to hold from a 0-40 deficit, with the help of a few shanks from Marin.
When serving for the match at 5-2, Marin tightened up once again and lost 2 opportunities to close it out on serve.
So nervous was he that when he did take the match with a forehand winner in the very next game, the look on Cilic’s face was nothing other than sheer relief at having avoided the burden of serving it out.
Even so, it was just an impeccable performance from the Croat. As the Chinese commentators on CCTV 5 put it, “woah!”
When someone with as aggressive and risky a game as Marin goes on a roll, there’s nothing you can do but to hang in there and wait for him to start missing, which unfortunately for Nadal, Cilic simply didn’t.
Mentioning Mr Checkeredpants, Rafa has the tendency to go out in flames when he loses on a hard court.
Every now and then, a player would come along and put on a performance that completely obliterates Rafa’s court presence. Tsonga at the Australian Open 2008 was an example, Djokovic at Cincinnati this year was another. Essentially that’s what Cilic did to him today – a complete imposition of his game style over Rafa’s. And sometimes you just have no answers.
Of course, all this was made harder for Nadal because of his serve. I understand that he might be playing it a little safe at this time of the year, especially right after his injuries. But if Rafa’s still hasn’t beefed it up at the Masters Cup, I’d be worried.
It seems that the China Open is a place for woodshed beatings, with Sexlana Kuznetsova and Novak Djokovic both prevailing comfortably over their opponents.
Yes. Sveta’s winning back-to-back matches again. NOBODY LOOK.
Doh. You looked didn’t you.
Oh Robin, just when you had me on the bandwagon, why?!
After much anticipation, the Sod’s disappointing performance in his semifinal against Djokovic reeked of unforced errors and poor serving.
Not to take anything away from the Djoker, who was solid on serve and defended tremendously along the baseline – a more prominent characteristic of his game this year.
So it’s back to No 3 for Nole who fist-pumped his way to the exit in celebration.
Nole is in his 8th final this year, winning only 2 out of the first 7. Can he tidy up his finals record for the year? Much will depend on whether Marin will experience a huge letdown after playing probably the finest match of his career.
There was a similar carnage over in Tokyo, as Tsonga took out Gael Monfils 63 63 in just 56 minutes. In an impressive serve clinic, Zonger lost just one point on his first serve throughout the match, as he s&v-ed his way through both sets, giving la Monf little rhythm and no break points.
And when Jo’s winning over 70% of points on serve and clocking that forehand like he was made in Switzerland, he’s just too hard to beat.
And: I will never get sick of his victory jump.
Jo-Wills is due to face MIKHAIL YOUZHNY for the title in Tokyo. That’s right, MIKHAIL. YOUZHNY. THE NUTTER.
Sorry for the caps lock, but it’s HARD TO CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT OKAY?
There was a time when I used to love this psycho, and I’m glad he appears to have gotten back some brain cells since his self-mutilation stunt in Miami last year. After all, winning a third set battle against Hewitt, one of the best competitors on tour, is no small feat.
And: I’ve missed his lil’ retarded salute.
Here’s a salute right back atcha!